Undergraduate Programs

Courses in Religion

Check the course schedules/descriptions available via the Registrar's Office for the official schedules for the widest range of terms for which such information is available.


Below you will find a list of all undergraduate courses that have been offered.

NOTE: Not all of these courses are offered in any given year.

REL 100 INTRO TO STUDY OF RELIGION

Religion has been and continues to be deeply embedded within human history, society, and culture in multiple and varied ways. People have long turned to religion to illuminate fundamental, “ultimate” questions about the meaning and purpose of human life while, at the same time, religion has also shaped and influenced how people live their everyday lives in the mundane world. In this course, students will explore and be introduced to (a) the complex interconnections between religion and national identity, politics, gender, sexuality, as well as everyday practices related to eating, dress/adornment, family life, etc., (b) the ways in which religion has variously been defined with respect to the sacred, belief, ritual, practice, and experience, and (c) the major approaches to the academic study of religion and central debates within the field of the study of religion.

Last Offered: Fall 2016

REL 101 INTRODUCTION TO THE OLD TESTAMENT

Examination of the texts of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament for Christians) in their religious, historical, and literary contexts. In this course, students will learn the history of the Ancient Israelite people from their origins down through the post-Exilic period. Study of the texts of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) enable us to explore what we can know about Ancient Israelite society and culture, the rise and fall of Israel as a nation-state, religious and theological debates about the role of God in shaping history and the problem of suffering, as well as the writing of the biblical texts and the development of the canon.

Last Offered: Fall 2016

REL 102 INTRODUCTION TO THE NEW TESTAMENT

Examination of the texts of the New Testament, as well as other ancient sources, in an attempt to reconstruct a picture of Christianity in its beginnings. We will study the New Testament and the early Jesus movement within the wider context of Second Temple Judaism and the Greco-Roman world. Issues such as the development of the canon, the divisions with the Jesus Movement between Jews and Gentiles, the different understandings of the figure of Jesus, the conflicts which shaped the institutional development of the early church, and the conflict between Rome and the early church will receive particular attention and analysis. We will approach the texts of the New Testament as we would any other texts in antiquity, namely from an historical perspective. Students will be exposed to the traditional tools of biblical scholarship. No previous knowledge of the New Testament or of early Christianity is assumed.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

REL 103 HISTORY OF JUDAISM

An introduction to the religious and cultural development of Judaism. Will emphasize Judaism as a living tradition, one which has been subject to both continuity and change among its practitioners throughout its history.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

REL 104 HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY

The development of Christianity throughout its twenty centuries of existence.

Last Offered: Fall 2016

REL 105 ASIAN SEARCH FOR SELF

The basic teachings of Hinduism and Buddhism as to human nature and the paths to liberation.

Last Offered: Fall 2016

REL 106 FROM CONFUCIUS TO ZEN

The teachings, practices, and social impact of the major religious traditions of China and Japan.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

REL 107 HISTORY OF ISLAM

The development of Islam from its origins in the Qur'an and Muhammad's teachings, through the codification of the classical tradition in its various forms, and finally to the living Islam of the contemporary world.

Last Offered: Fall 2015

REL 111 PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION

Historical and recent readings are used to analyze issues such as: existence of God, divine attributes, the relation of God to the world, and faith and reason.

Last Offered: Fall 2016

REL 112 JUSTICE AND EQUALITY

What is justice? Is it universal or does it vary across cultures and over time? Does justice require equality? If so, equality of what? What steps must we take to become more just and more egalitarian? What can art tell us about justice? What can justice tell us about art? The world’s most powerful minds have wrestled with these questions, and the answers they have posed shape our contemporary global debates. In this unique course, taught by multiple faculty from across the humanities and social sciences, we will consider different conceptions of justice and equality, with special attention to their relevance to the contemporary moment. Beginning with Plato’s Republic , we will address works by such thinkers as Rousseau, Mary Wollstonecraft, Franz Fanon, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, and Martin Luther King. Students and faculty from multiple sections of this course will occasionally meet as one group to analyze how different disciplines confront these complex topics. Outside speakers will also address the course.

Last Offered: Fall 2014

REL 115 SEX AND POWER

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Last Offered: Fall 2016

REL 120 ORIGINS OF RELIGION

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Last Offered: Fall 2012

REL 125 RELIGION, RACE, AND ETHNICTY IN AMERICA

A methodological inquiry into ethnicity, race, and religion as constituents of personal and communal identity. The course will emphasize the implications of these categories for a religiously pluralistic society such as the United States. Topics to be covered in this course include American immigration history, race relations, and the process of Americanization. How do Americans achieve “whiteness”? What is the difference between “ethnic” and “racial”? How are these differences gendered? How does religion factor into these questions? Twentieth and twenty-first century shifts in American religious.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

REL 135 CLASSICAL MYTHOLOGY

The major myths of the classical gods and heroes using readings in translation and visual images.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

REL 140 CLASSICAL & SCRIPTURAL BACKGROUNDS

The great tradition, from Homer, Greek drama, Plato, and Virgil to the bible and Dante.

Last Offered: Fall 2016

REL 142 THE IDEAS OF THE GREEKS

A study of the major literary, philosophical, religious, and historical themes, and ideas from Homer to Aristotle.

REL 145 JUDAISM IN AMERICA

Explores the development of American Judaism through the interplay of religion, ethnicity, politics and culture.

Last Offered: Fall 2015

REL 148 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS

The themes of love and sex, comedy and adventure,that have given this classic of world literature it's universal appeal and timeless relevance.

Last Offered: Fall 2015

REL 149 CONTEMPORARY FICTION FROM THE ARAB WORLD

This course introduces the students to major Arab authors of contemporary novels and short stories in excellent translations.

Last Offered: Fall 2016

REL 151 THE BLUES

The origins of the Blues in the context of African-American culture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it's rapid rise to becoming the dominant popular music in the African- American community, and the discovery of blues by white audiences.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

REL 153 ISLAM IN AMERICA

This course surveys the history of Islam in the Americas from the days of slavery, to the so-called Black Muslims, to the post-65 immigrants, to 9/11, and beyond.

Last Offered: Spring 2015

REL 154 REL&RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE

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Last Offered: Fall 2016

REL 155 RELIGION IN AMERICA

Leaning heavily on primary sources, this course surveys the history and ethnography of religion in the United States. Special attention will be given to personal experiences of the divine, political strife and social reform, tensions between sectarianism and pluralism, and the extraordinary religious history of western New York.

Last Offered: Fall 2015

REL 156 REL OF THE AFRICAN DIASPORA

This course introduces students to African Diaspora religions, with a specific focus on the Caribbean and the Americas. Religious traditions such as Africanized Christianity, Cuban Santería, Haitian Vodou, Brazilian Candomblé and African American Spiritualism will be explored. Specifically, these traditions are presented to students through the use of community field trips, lectures, discussions, and films.

Last Offered: Fall 2015

REL 157 AFRICAN AMERICAN RELIGIOUS HISTORY

Historical survey of religions as practiced by people of African descent living in North America. Christianity, Islam, and African-derived religions will be examined. Through its canvassing of doctrinal and ritual frameworks, students are afforded an opportunity to view the diverse and complex terrain of African American religion. Class format includes lectures, discussions, and film/music.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

REL 158 AMER SPIRITUAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY

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REL 159 INTERFAITH RELATIONS: THE GLOBALIZATION OF GOD

This course is an exploration of the dynamic interactions between people of the diverse religions of the world as religiously pluralistic societies adapt to their multi-faith reality. We study the history of interfaith dialogue globally, nationally and locally with a particular focus on the interfaith movement on college campuses in the United States. We use case studies to examine how religion, politics and culture interact to create opportunities for positive or negative engagement across religious traditions. We study the etiquette of interreligious engagement in multi-religious contexts building skills for global citizenship. Students will be assigned to a community partner organization (e.g. Gandhi Institute, Hickey Center for Interfaith Studies and Dialogue) for hands-on interfaith projects and will attend and observe religious rituals in three world religious traditions.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

REL 160 PARLIAMENT OF WORLDS RELIGNS

This course will involve students in the global interfaith movement through participation in the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Salt Lake City from October 15-19, 2015. The Parliament is the preeminent gathering of the worldwide interfaith movement. Students will attend academic sessions, spiritual and religious practices in a diverse array of world religions and spiritualities, and cultural experiences including music, dance and art. They will network with scholars, activists, religious leaders and students from around the world. This course will develop intercultural and interreligious competency through hands-on interreligious and intercultural dialogue, enable students to develop relationships with people from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds, and to engage in scholarly research on topics of global significance.

Last Offered: Fall 2015

REL 161 NOT CULTS: NEW RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS EAST AND WEST

East and West: Often dismissed as fraudulent cults, NRMs are nevertheless products of the society in which they grow. This course takes a sociological approach in studying the theories, founders, organizations, and development strategies of various NRMs. While the focus will be on the better known groups in USA (such as People’s Temple, Hare Krishna, and Scientology), NRMs in Asia, for instance, Shinrikyo and Falun Gong, will also be included.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

REL 162W MYSTICISM

Ancient and contemporary views of the nature of mystical experience and the quest for it as well as mysticisms impact on religion, art, and society.

Last Offered: Fall 2014

REL 164 DEATH, DYING & BEYOND

This course explores the reactions to death, from both the dying ones and the surviving ones, as well as the methods to cope with death, such as envisioning the afterlife, religious rituals, and modern ethical debates over advanced bio-medical techniques. It covers from the antique to modern times.

Last Offered: Fall 2016

REL 167K SPEAKING STONES

Grave stones and funerary architecture in Rochester’s Mt. Hope cemetery and symbolic connections between the living and the dead.

Last Offered: Fall 2010

REL 167W SPEAKING STONES

An examination of grave stones and funerary architecture in Rochester’s Mt. Hope cemetery with a focus on symbolic connections among the living and the dead.

Last Offered: Fall 2016

REL 168 MATERIAL LIFE OF RELIGION

This course explores the material expression of religious traditions of the Americas—North, Central, and South America. Material forms like dance, dress, art, music, and architecture will be considered. In examining these material realities, the course illuminates the role that creative agency plays in the outward materializing of religious doctrines and beliefs. Class format includes lectures, discussions, presentations, and practitioner demonstrations.

Last Offered: Spring 2014

REL 170 RELIGION & HIP HOP CULTURE

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Last Offered: Fall 2016

REL 171 STORYTELLING IN INDIAN RELIGION

In this course, students will read a wide variety of stories taken from the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jaina religious traditions, and examine the ways in which these stories encapsulate important philosophical and religious truths. The course will focus upon both the stories themselves and storytelling as religious instruction.

Last Offered: Spring 2015

REL 173 RELIGIONS OF JAPAN

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Last Offered: Fall 2014

REL 174 CHINESE RELIGIONS

This is a survey course on religious traditions in China covering Buddhist, Daoist, and popular religion, while Confucian theorization and ritualization of ethics will also be included. The course aims at broadening your understanding of religion in general and deepening your conception of China as a cultural entity.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

REL 175 RELIGION & CHINESE SOCIETY

This course examines the complicated relationship between religion and society in China. It takes a sociological approach, emphasizing that religion should be studied as a social phenomena that closely interacts with the development of society at large. The focus is on contemporary times from the end of the 19th century through present. During this period of time, China experienced tremendous change. This course introduces how such change impacted on and was expressed through religion, religiosity, and religious politics.

Last Offered: Fall 2016

REL 178 RELIGION,FOOD&EATING IN AMER

American food traditions as elements of personal and communal religious identity.

Last Offered: Fall 2014

REL 179 JEWS AND POPULAR CULTURE

Full title, "Entertaining America: Jews & Popular Culture", is a thematic introduction to the relationship between Jews and American entertainment media from the turn of the 20th century to today. Will address Jewish experience in radio, Hollywood, theatre, and television, as well as popular print culture such as comic books.

Last Offered: Fall 2014

REL 181 "OTHER" IN MODERN HEBREW LIT

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Last Offered: Fall 2014

REL 182 RELIGION AND LAW

Depending on how we approach it, the law may be thought of as a body of text, as a canon for normative conduct, or as a set of practices. Religion, which may alternatively be conceptualized as creed, as ritual system, or as way (or ways) of life, possesses similar elasticity. In this mid-level interdisciplinary course, we draw on works of ethnography, philosophy, theory and literature to think through the various ways that these two concepts - Law and Religion - inform, interact with and place limits on one another.

Last Offered: Spring 2015

REL 187 SCIENCE MAGIC OCCULT

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Last Offered: Fall 2016

REL 188 ISSUES CONTEMP JEWISH THOUGHT

Examination of issues relevant to both Jewish and non-Jewish life today. These include the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, science, technology, medical ethics, and abortion

Last Offered: Fall 2013

REL 189 SEXUALITY IN WORLD RELIGION

The study of issues surrounding human sexuality as it has been treated in world religions. Issues, such as homosexuality, transgender/transsexual, marriage, family, sexual ethics, gender in world religions will be covered. Also, the role of Eros in mystical traditions of various world religions (Sufi, Christian Mysticism, Hinduism) will be examined in those instances where the erotic and the spiritual have been manifested together. Classroom discussion about what is the connection between sexuality and spirituality and how have religious traditions dealt with that connection? College hook-up culture is also examined in light of the study of spirituality and sexuality.

Last Offered: Fall 2016

REL 192Q QUEST FOR THE HISTORICAL JESUS

The attempts of the earliest Christians and of modern scholars to reconstruct the life and teachings of Jesus.

REL 193 DANTE ALIGHIERI

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Last Offered: Fall 2016

REL 193Q DIVINE COMEDY OF DANTE ALIGHIERI

Students learn how to approach Dante's poetry as a vehicle for thought, an instrument of self-discovery, and a way to understand and affect the historical reality.

Last Offered: Spring 2013

REL 197 DIVINE COMEDY I

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Last Offered: Fall 2016

REL 197Q DANTE'S DIVINE COMEDY PT. 1

Students gain a perspective on the Biblical, Christian, and Classical traditions as well as on the political, literary, philosophical, and theological context of medieval Europe.

Last Offered: Fall 2012

REL 198Q DANTE'S DIVINE COMEDY II

This course is the second segment of a two-semester sequence on the Divine Comedy. The purpose of the sequence is to introduce students to the liberal arts through one of the most significant texts in Western civilization.

Last Offered: Spring 2013

REL 200 INTRODUCTION TO ARCHAEOLOGY

This course introduces the student to the field of archaeology through three units of study: 1) The history of excavation from ancient to modern times, 2) The techniques of excavation and the analysis of material remains, 3) Modern theories of cultural interpretation of archaeological sites.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

REL 202 EROS & MADNESS IN PLATO

A careful and thorough line by line study of Plato's PHAEDRUS and SYMPOSIUM with a view to understanding each dialogue in itself and Plato's philosophic art of poetic composition. Some major themes in Plato will be intensively explored, such as The Soul and its part, the immortality of The Soul, the nature of learning, Eros and philosophic passion, and others. Mostly discussion.

Last Offered: Spring 2013

REL 203 EARLY ENGLISH DRAMA

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Last Offered: Fall 2012

REL 204 ANCIENT ROMAN RELIGION

This course explores the religion of the ancient Romans from the time of the founding of the city of Rome in the eighth century BC to the end of the Roman imperial period in the fifth century AD.

Last Offered: Fall 2014

REL 205 MYSTICAL LITERATURE

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Last Offered: Fall 2015

REL 207 WOMEN IN EARLY CHRISTIANITY

In this seminar, we will examine ancient Christian sources from the first four centuries CE that focus on women's lives and women's religious experiences. Topics include: the debates over women's religious authority, the prominence of female martyrs, the relationship between women and heresy, virginity and sexual renunciation, the Christian family, forms of female asceticism and Christian holy women, and the role of women in the 'rise' of Christianity.

Last Offered: Fall 2010

REL 208 MEDICINE, MAGIC & MIRACLES

Examination of the intersection of religion and healing by examining the range of ways in which people understood and responded to the experience of illness and physical suffering in Greco-Roman antiquity and the various means by which they sought healing. Drawing on a range of sources, such as medical treatises, religious texts, and archaeological evidence, focus will be on: “Medicine” (the development of ‘professional’ medicine in ancient Greece and Rome), “Magic” (magical practices, texts, and magicians as healers) and “Miracles” (miracle workers such as Jesus and Apollonius of Tyana, healing religions such as the Asklepios cults and the emerging Christian movement).

Last Offered: Spring 2015

REL 209 MEDICINE, MAGIC & MIRACLES

An examination of the history and literature of the varieties of Judaism in the Greco-Roman world from the time of the Babylonian Exile until the destruction of the Second Temple and its aftermath.

Last Offered: Spring 2014

REL 211 JEWS, PAGANS AND CHRISTIANS

Religious conflict in the ancient world.

Last Offered: Fall 2014

REL 212 JEWISH PHILOSOPHY

Provides a survey of the major Jewish philosophers from both the medieval period (e.g., Saadya Gaon, Judah Halevi, Moses Maimonides) and the modern period (e.g., Moses Mendelssohn, Hermann Cohen, Franz Rosenzweig, and Emmanuel Levinas).

Last Offered: Fall 2013

REL 213 JEWISH MYSTICISM

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Last Offered: Spring 2013

REL 214 IMAGINING THE JEW

Popular representations of Jews and their influence on Jewish acculturation, Americanization, and continuity.

Last Offered: Spring 2013

REL 215 INVENTION OF MODERN JUDAISM

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REL 216 JEWS & MULTICULTURALISM IN AMERICA

Jewish immigration in the U.S.and the ways in which these immigrants chose to acculturate (or not).

Last Offered: Spring 2014

REL 217 MODERN JEWISH PHILOSOPHY

In this seminar, we will read some of the classic works of modern Jewish philosophy. Authors include Hermann Cohen, Franz Rosenzweig, Emmanuel Levinas, and Joseph Soloveitchik.

Last Offered: Spring 2015

REL 218 THE HOLOCAUST

1) THE EVENT: Jews in Nazi Germany, the concentration camp; the Nazi ghetto; the death camps; uprising and resistance. 2) ANTECEDENTS: The historical development of Anti-Semitism and the nature of totalitarianism; German political and cultural history of the 19th-20th centuries; the place of the Jewish minority in Europe. 3) MEANING: Survival in theology, literature, and politics; theological and historical interpretations of the Holocaust; the problem of evil.

REL 220 JEWISH WOMEN'S WRITING

The American Jewish experience, from the Eastern European immigrant experience to the recent religious revival, through the lens of Jewish women's literature.

Last Offered: Fall 2015

REL 221 LAND,LANG&IDENT IN MOD HEBRW

Survey of modern Hebrew classics in English translation up to 1948. The themes of land, language, and identity are explored in modern Hebrew literature written in Europe and Palestine prior to 1948.

Last Offered: Fall 2012

REL 222 VENICE AND THE JEWS

By combining the examination of primary sources, the use of media, and the access to relevant digital materials, the course explores Jewish experience in Renaissance and early modern Italy, with a focus on Venice. Topics discussed will include the institution of the first ghetto in history, the economic role of Jewish merchants and moneylenders, Jews, crypto-Jews, and Judaizers in front of the Venetian Inquisition, and Jewish everyday life on the lagoon.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

REL 223 SACRED SPACES IN GREECE

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Last Offered: Fall 2016

REL 224 CHRISTIANITY & SOCIAL CHANGE

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Last Offered: Fall 2015

REL 226 GUILT

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Last Offered: Fall 2014

REL 227 ANCIENT CHRISTIANITY

The rise of early Christianity from a persecuted minority religious movement to the dominant religion of the Roman Empire.

Last Offered: Spring 2015

REL 228 THE BODY IN EARLY CHRISTIANITY

Though we often assume that religion deals with the spirit or the soul, the earliest Christians were deeply and primarily concerned with the body. In this course, we examine the multiple and various early Christian debates and practices relating to the body focusing in particular on issues related to physical suffering, death, sexuality, identity, and asceticism. Topics include: early Christian debates over the nature of the body and its relationship to personal identity and the nature of the self; conflicting ideas about the nature of Jesus’ incarnated, crucified, and resurrected body; gender, sexuality, and the bodies of men and women; Christian valorization of physical suffering and the bodies of the ill; the cult of the martyrs and the cult of the relics; the rise of asceticism and the bodies of saints.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

REL 229 RELIGION AND VIOLENCE

The natural theology of Thomas Aquinas.

Last Offered: Fall 2015

REL 230 AUGUSTINE, ANSELM & AQUINAS

Three formative philosophical treatments of religious belief on such topics as the existence of God, freedom, providence, and evil.

Last Offered: Fall 2015

REL 231 CHRISTIAN HISTORY I

Examines the emergence and evolution of Christianity from its 1st century roots in Palestinian Judaism and Jesus until the early 16th century and the pre-Reformation period. We will focus on such issues as Paul’s message about Jesus, the persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire, the emergence of Christian theology in both the Greek and Latin halves of the Empire, Christian monasticism, and the emergence of the papacy.

Last Offered: Fall 2015

REL 232 THE HISTORY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH: FROM THE REFORMATION TO THE PRESENT

In the 15th century the western or Roman Catholic Church was in a state of crisis. Papal governance was in question, there were widespread abuses of power, and calls for reform were being articulated throughout Christendom. In 1517 Martin Luther unleashed an unstoppable movement that would lead to the division of western Christianity into two opposing forces – Protestant and Catholic. Others followed in this wake. This course will examine how western Christianity has evolved from the 16th century to the present by using primary sources that help us understand the evolution of Christian thought from the Reformation to the present. Short, on-going reflection papers, along with class participation, are required.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

REL 233 CHRISTIANTY&THE SOCIAL ORDER

Varied paradigms of Christianity's relationship with the social world, from early Christianity to the present.

Last Offered: Fall 2010

REL 234 CRY FREEDOM

The principal ideas of various liberation theologians -- Latin American, Asian, African, Afro-American, and feminist. We will also examine the social worlds in which they think and write, thus trying to see the connection between their ideas and the social environments they want to liberate.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

REL 235 RELIGION AND SOCIETY IN LATIN AMERICA

Cultural and political relationships between religion and Latin American societies, from pre-Conquest religious systems and their continued presence in indigenous people to the symbiotic relation between church and state in Mexico, Peru, and Bolivia.

Last Offered: Fall 2011

REL 236 CATHOLICISM IN AMERICAN LIFE

Catholics have been present in what today is called the United States from its earliest years as a British colony to the present, in which the Catholic population makes up roughly 25% of the nation as a whole. In this course we will examine the principal historical events that have transpired over the years as the Catholic Church expanded from its colonial origins, became a church of immigrants, and subsequently part of the established social order. Short reflection papers are required throughout the semester.

Last Offered: Fall 2016

REL 237 THE REFORMATION

On the 31st of October 1517 Martin Luther tacked 95 theological challenges to medieval Catholic beliefs on a cathedral door. Luther’s snowball led to the avalanche we call the Reformation. It permanently altered the western European world. Yet Luther was only a part of broad efforts to reform medieval Catholicism, many of which preceded Luther and many more would follow in the wake of his actions. Although related to problems in the church, the reform movement was also connected to complex economic, intellectual, and socio-political forces that were already at play. The purpose of this course is to examine what happened and why. The course will be conducted as a seminar and will require active participation and short essays.

Last Offered: Spring 2015

REL 238 NATIVE AMERICAN ART & RELGION

Case studies in Native American cultures where the visual arts articulate religious and philosophical systems of thought.

Last Offered: Fall 2016

REL 239 SPIRITUALISM IN AMERICA

Is it possible to communicate with the dead? This course examines how followers of American Spiritualism sought to grapple with this very question. Specifically, it takes students on a historical journey from the early development of modern Spiritualism in upstate New York to current forms as expressed by African American Spiritual Churches in New Orleans. Class format includes lectures, discussions, films, and field trips.

Last Offered: Fall 2016

REL 240 MUHAMMAD & THE QUR'AN

The prophet Muhammad, the Qur'an, and their importance to medieval and modern Muslim culture.

REL 240W MUHAMMAD & THE QUR'AN

The course studies the prophet Muhammad, the Qur¿an, and their importance to medieval and modern Muslim culture. The prophet¿s life and major themes of the Qur¿an will be discussed together with interpretations of them found in Islamic legal, theological, philosophical, and mystical writings.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

REL 241 QUR'ANIC ARABIC

Selections from the Qur'an, with discussion of religious, literary, and historical dimensions of the text.

Prerequisites: ARA 103 or equivalent Crosslisting: ARA241
Last Offered: Spring 2010

REL 242 CULTURES OF MUSLIM SPAIN

An examination of the history, literature, religion, and philosophy produced by Jews, Muslims, and Christians in medieval al-Andalus.

Last Offered: Fall 2015

REL 243 ISLAMIC MYSTICISM

Islamic mystical experience and theory and their importance to religion, philosophy, art, and literature.

Last Offered: Spring 2011

REL 243W ISLAMIC MYSTICISM

An advanced introduction to mystical life in Islam which studies mystical experience and theory and traces the importance of Islamic mysticism to religion, philosophy, art, and literature as found in medieval and modern Muslim societies.

Last Offered: Spring 2013

REL 244 ISLAMIC MYSTICAL POETRY

In this course students read and analyze Islamic mystical verse in English translation largely from Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Urdu. Following an intensive introduction to Islamic mysticism, specific poems are studied with particular attention given to the religious contents and functions of this verse and to its place within its respective poetic tradition.

REL 244W ISLAMIC MYSTICAL POETRY

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Last Offered: Spring 2014

REL 245 MEDIEVAL ISLAMIC&JEWISH PHIL

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Last Offered: Fall 2014

REL 247 ISLAM & THE THIRD WORLD

Effects of Third World political, social, and economic factors on contemporary Islam. Case-studies will be drawn from contemporary Muslim societies, with particular attention to the subjects of Muslim women, the rise of Islamic movements in the 20th-21st centuries, and instances of global religious violence involving Muslims.

Prerequisites: Crosslisted: AAS 278/HIS244W
Last Offered: Spring 2010

REL 247W ISLAM & THE THIRD WORLD

This course will study some of the important and often dramatic changes occurring in modern Islam by examining the effects on it of Third World political, social, and economic factors. Case studies will be drawn from twenty first century Islam but placed in context of similar situations involving other religion’s traditions in South America, Africa, and South Asia.

Last Offered: Spring 2014

REL 248 ISLAM AND GLOBAL POLITICS

The response of the Islamic world to European colonialism and American foreign policy.

Last Offered: Fall 2015

REL 249 RUSSIA GOES TO MOVIES

We will trace the changing face of Christ over two centuries of Russian culture in the works of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Bulgakov and Pasternak.

Last Offered: Spring 2015

REL 250 RELIGION AND SCIENCE

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Last Offered: Fall 2012

REL 252 HEROINES & HEROES

A comparative study of the heroic concept in light of Indo-European mythologies, particularly stories from the Sanskrit and Greek traditions.

Last Offered: Spring 2010

REL 253 ZIONISM & ITS DISCONTENT

A course on theories of religion, which examines recent research on the intersection between religion and science, in particular cognitive science and evolutionary biology.

Last Offered: Fall 2016

REL 254 HINDU MYTHOLOGIES

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Last Offered: Fall 2014

REL 255 HINDU GODDESSES AND WOMEN

Ways in which women understand themselves as Hindus and the ways in which they have been understood.

REL 256 DARWIN & RELIGION

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Last Offered: Fall 2016

REL 260 HINDU SHAMANS, MYSTICS & DOCTORS

Hindu traditions highlight the importance of charismatic authority and various attainments as sources for understanding actions and gaining insight into the natural world and the human condition. In their attempt to connect the somatic experience of embodiment with the possibilities of the mind and even transcendental goals, Hindus describe sages, charismatics, teachers, and other concepts of "yogin" and "guru" as masterful examples of human possibilities. We'll explore these characters and the various ways Hindus create the concept of the "powerful being", the human capable of extraordinary feats and accomplishments. We'll look at sages and polymaths, poets and storytellers, ascetics and householders, all understood to be healers and discerning contemplatives. We'll focus on primary sources in translation from Sanskrit, Tamil, and other Indian languages that tell us about these powerful beings, visible and invisible, and how we might interact with them.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

REL 261 AFRICAN DIASPORA IN LAT AMER

An advanced introduction to the mysticism of the Hindu Tantras. Additional readings explore its historical and philosophical dimensions.

Last Offered: Fall 2015

REL 262 THE BHAGAVADGITA

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REL 263 RELIGION & JAPANESE CULTR

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Last Offered: Spring 2013

REL 264 ISLAMIC ARCH IN CONTEXT

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Last Offered: Fall 2015

REL 265 ISRAEL/PALESTINE

This course will provide a non-partisan introduction to the conflict between these two national movements. Discussion will focus on an examination of historical documents, in addition to understanding of how it plays out in literature and film.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

REL 266 BUDDHIST PHILOSOPHY

Major developments in Buddhist thought and practice through study of key figures in Indian, Southeast Asian, Tibetan, and East Asian traditions

REL 269 Tibetan Buddhism

Cultural and historical development of Buddhism in Tibet.

REL 270 MEDICINE, ALCHEMY & RELIGION IN INDIA

An introduction to the Indian traditions of medicine, healing, and self transformation from historical, theoretical, and practical perspectives.

REL 271 MEDIEVAL HINDU PHILOSOPHY

Studies in Vedanta, Kashmir Saivism, and other systems of thought.

REL 272 ADVICE AND DISSENT

Examination of works that raise issues of common interest across the history of religions and create opportunities for comparison and challenging conversation regarding ideas and values centering on the spiritual life.

Last Offered: Fall 2015

REL 274 CULTURE & RELIGION: INDIAN OCEAN

The transformations of the world religions during the colonial and post-colonial periods in the countries bordering the Indian Ocean.

Last Offered: Spring 2011

REL 278 iRELIGION: RELIGION IN THE DIGITAL AGE

How has technology impacted religion? This hands-on course explores how digital technologies like the Internet, social media, and gaming have changed the way that people think about religion. Class format includes discussions, application demonstrations, and individual/collaborative projects.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

REL 279 TRINITY, INCARNATION, AND ATONEMENT

We will look at recent philosophical work that attempts to explain or to understand three central concepts of Christianity, namely, the doctrines of the Trinity, the Incarnation, and Atonement. Particular attention will be paid to the question whether these doctrines can be given a coherent formulation and, if so, what sort of metaphysical views about identity, personhood, divinity, substance, and obligation would be required.

Last Offered: Spring 2016

REL 280 GOTHIC EUROPE

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Last Offered: Spring 2015

REL 281 BRITISH ART OF THE MID AGES

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Last Offered: Spring 2013

REL 282 DIVINE COMEDY OF DANTE ALIGHIERI

Students learn how to approach Dante's poetry as a vehicle for thought, an instrument of self-discovery, and a way to understand and affect the historical reality.

Last Offered: Fall 2016

REL 283 THE CULTURE OF ZEN

Buddhism was the most important element shaping the culture of medieval Japan. This course examines the doctrines and the monastic and worldly practices of Zen Buddhism as they shaped the daily life, literature and drama, art and architecture, calligraphy, interior decoration, and tea ceremony of the period.

Last Offered: Spring 2014

REL 285 DIVINE COMEDY I

Students gain a perspective on the Biblical, Christian, and Classical traditions as well as on the political, literary, philosophical, and theological context of medieval Europe.

Last Offered: Fall 2016

REL 286 DANTE'S DIVINE COMEDY II

This course is the second segment of a two-semester sequence on the Divine Comedy. The purpose of the sequence is to introduce students to the liberal arts through one of the most significant texts in Western civilization.

Last Offered: Spring 2013

REL 287 VISUALIZING DANTE

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Last Offered: Spring 2014

REL 288 CHAUCER

The principal works of Chaucer, in their historical and intellectual context.Readings in Middle English.

Last Offered: Spring 2015

REL 289 VISIONARY, MYSTICS, SAINTS

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Last Offered: Fall 2015

REL 290 NOTABLE UPSTATE RELIG SITES

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Last Offered: Summer 2010

REL 291 TOPICS IN PHILOSOPHICAL THEOLOGY

A seminar devoted to a selected topic in philosophy of religion. Same as PHL 260/460.

Last Offered: Spring 2016

REL 292 MARX, NIETZSCHE & FREUD

This course examines the views of Marx, Nietzsche and Freud on religion. Each of these three thinkers developed a radical critique of religion that was a vital part of his thought, and echoes of their views continue to be heard in contemporary debates about religion. We will discuss their explanations of the origins of religious ideas, the validity of their criticisms—most prominently that religion as such is now harmful to humanity—and how each man’s view of religion reflects larger concerns in his thought. Key concepts of each thinker, such as alienation (Marx), nihilism (Nietzsche), and neurosis (Freud), will be analyzed.

Last Offered: Fall 2016

REL 293W THEORIES OF RELIGION

An investigation of important methodological contributions to the critical study of religion. The class will be conducted as a seminar. In class, papers and discussion will constitute the work of the course. One hundred and fifty pages of reading per week.

Prerequisites: This course is restricted to Religion majors and minors.
Last Offered: Fall 2016

REL 294 ON GENEALOGY

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Last Offered: Spring 2014

REL 296 ORIGINS OF RELIGION

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Last Offered: Spring 2013

REL 297 THE FIRST AMENDMENT & RELIGION IN AMERICA

The historical forces that led to the adoption of the religion clauses of the First Amendment, the subsequent development of those clauses (importantly through the close reading of key Supreme Court opinions), and religion's role in modern American society.

Last Offered: Spring 2015

REL 299 FIELD METHODS IN ARCHAEOLOGY

In this course, taught on site at an archaeological excavation, students receive instruction and hands-on training in archaeological field and laboratory work, including remote sensing in archaeology, on-site surveying, excavation techniques, field documentation, and artifact identification and processing.

Last Offered: Summer 2016

REL 300 ADVANCED FIELD METHODS IN ARCHAEOLOGY

Students receive instruction and hands-on training in archaeological field and laboratory work, including remote sensing in archaeology, on-site surveying, excavation techniques, field documentation, and artifact identification and processing.

Last Offered: Summer 2011

REL 301 MODERNITY AND MODERNISM

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Last Offered: Fall 2014

REL 308 GODS & GODDESSES IN HINDU MYTH

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Last Offered: Spring 2013

REL 309 THE CELESTIAL SONG

We will study and compare several translations of the Bhagavadgita, read traditional Sanskrit and vernacular commentaries in English translation, and study how this remarkable text has inspired, bemused, and generated myriad interpretations and competing theological schools.

Last Offered: Spring 2011

REL 310 THE MAHABHARATA

A study of the Mahâbhârata, the great Hindu epic, focusing on the symbolism of its narrative and the problems involved in its interpretation of myth and ritual.

Last Offered: Spring 2014

REL 311 HINDU TANTRISM & ESOTERIC TRADITIONS

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REL 315 HEROIC HEART: MAHABHARATA

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Last Offered: Fall 2016

REL 382 APOCALYPSE NOW...AND THEN

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Last Offered: Fall 2015

REL 389W SENIOR SEMINAR

This advanced seminar focuses on topics, methods, and theoretical models in the study of religion. Specific subjects are determined on a yearly basis. Restricted to Senior religion majors or by permission of Instructor.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

REL 390 SUPERVISED TEACHING

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Last Offered: Spring 2017

REL 391 INDEPENDENT STUDY

By arrangement with the chair and with the consent of an instructor, to permit work beyond the regular course offerings. Limited to juniors and seniors with background in the selected area of reading.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

REL 392 HONORS RESEARCH

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Last Offered: Spring 2017

REL 393 SENIOR PROJECT

A directed, individual study project open to senior concentrators.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

REL 393W SENIOR PROJECT

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Last Offered: Spring 2017

REL 394 INTERNSHIP

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Last Offered: Spring 2017

REL 395 INDEPENDENT RESEARCH

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Last Offered: Fall 2013

REL 396 HONOR'S RESEARCH

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Last Offered: Spring 2017

REL 491 READINGS

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Last Offered: Spring 2017

REL 591 PHD READINGS IN RELIGION

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Last Offered: Spring 2017

REL 890 SUMMER IN RESIDENCE - MA

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Last Offered: Summer 2011

REL 986V FULL-TIME VISITING STUDENT

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Last Offered: Fall 2016

REL 987V PART TIME VISITING STUDENT

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Last Offered: Spring 2017

REL 990 SUMMER IN RESIDENCE

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Last Offered: Summer 2011